Rebranding of Notes Mail / Connections Mail and Consequences – #RebrandingFail


I received this marketing/sales email earlier today and reading it made me a bit confused and also concerned. Not because I think that IBM and email is going away, but because f the way that IBM has initialized it’s latest round of rebranding Notes (aka Connections Mail) there is confusion in the marketplace and this is a great example for what clients are going to be bombarded with:

Dear Victor,

IBM is ending the “Lotus” brand, and has been building more functionality into “IBM Connections”, suggesting that they may be trying to get rid of email as a single platform. Notes users have had no choice but to look for alternatives and make plans to switch over to another system.

Unfortunately, migration away from Notes is tricky and companies need 3rd party assistance to make the switch. For companies who plan to consolidate control over legacy data, the most important consideration in selecting a 3rd party is the subsequent accessibility of historical Notes data.

ZL Technologies has years of experience successfully migrating our customers off of Domino systems and specializes in providing them with a Unified system of information governance. To find out how ZL is able to accurately migrate all your legacy data while drastically reducing storage footprint and minimizing resulting operational costs, read our complimentary datasheet.

To learn more about us, please visit our website at http://www.zlti.com, or reach out to ZL experts directly at zl_info@zlti.com.

 

I have worked with ZL’s previously and they have a very kick-ass product. However, I can’t see the necessity for my clients to now suddenly “run for the hills” and look for another mail system. Again, I don’t really blame ZL that much as they are simply taking advantage of IBM’s efforts to sell their products. Rather, I lay the blame for this squarely at IBM. I don’t feel that the whole rebranding thing was well explained (a all!) at Connect2014 nor did I as a business partner get any follow-up and additional info. I am no sure if and how much effort IBM has extended to the follow-up of their (for me very confusing) announcement at Connect, but clearly it ain’t enough. In the absence of a clear and resounding message, messages by third parties like this is all that clients will be hearing.

I assume more companies will be using this as an opening to try and sell their services and products to make sure that those poor IBM customers that will be abandoned by IBM can safely migrate to another – hopefully much safer – platform with all their data intact and enjoy another 100 years of email longevity . . ..

Should I tweet it … #rebrandingfail ??

Open Mic Webcast: Troubleshooting Duplicate Mail Messages in IBM Notes – 24 July 2013


Looks like a good webcast again. I often get duplicate mail messages and it drives me nuts …. I will likely listne in to this one.

 

 

 

You are invited to join an Open Mic Webcast on the topic “Troubleshooting Duplicate Mail Messages in IBM Notes.” This event will be held Wednesday, 24 July 2013 at 11:00 AM EDT (15:00 UTC, or GMT -4), for 60 minutes. After a presentation, you will have the opportunity to ask questions directly of IBM Developers and Support Engineers. See more details below. (Note: To view this information online, go to http://www.ibm.com/support/docview.wss?uid=swg27038764

When Date: 24 July 2013
Time: 11:00 AM EDT (15:00 UTC, or GMT -4), for 60 minutes
Bookmark Webcast Technote
# 7038764
Title: Open Mic Webcast: Troubleshooting Duplicate Mail Messages in IBM Notes – 24 July 2013
Doc #: 7038764
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IBM Open Mic Webcast: What’s the Latest with Notes Traveler? – 24 April 2012


I just received this in my in-box – definitely looks like something everybody should put into their calendars:

 

You are invited to join an Open Mic Webcast on the topic, “What’s the Latest with Notes Traveler?” ” After a presentation, you’ll have the opportunity to ask questions directly of IBM developers and support engineers. You can post questions in advance of the call as a response to this entry in the Notes/Domino/Traveler forum.

The event will take place on Tuesday, April 24, 2012 at 11 a.m. EDT (15:00 UTC or GMT -4) for 60 minutes.

Bookmark Webcast Technote #7024152 Title:     What’s the Latest with Notes Traveler? – 24 April 2012
Doc #:  7024142
URL:     http://www.ibm.com/support/docview.wss?uid=swg27024152

Before the call, the technote will include:

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Domino, WebSphere and why don’t my Friends get it yet


As most people who know me in person can attest to, I usually am not at a loss for words. Some friends of mine actually have made a pact to kill my mouth separately after I die to make sure it goes to rest.  True friends will go to great lengths to take care of you … one way or another.

“The discussion”

I did find my inborn ability to fill the air with words challenged over the holidays when I engaged a good friend and collegue in a discussion about technology, future and IT work in general. We were griping a bit and the topic we were discussed was Domino and how the good paying jobs have become more scarce over the last 2 – 3 years. I imagine this topic gets repeated over and over again among many IT professionals.

To keep the whole thing short: I could not get the point across that as a Domino guy you have to see the writing on the wall and learn Websphere. More and more of Lotus IBM technology is now running on Websphere (Sametime, Connections, Quickr J . . .) and even if you don’t think that Domino will end up on that platform eventually, you need to add to your technology portfolio and make yourself more valuable. With Websphere in your back pocket you can do other projects as well. Add a dash of Unix and Linux experience … and you have the making of a nice Bouillabaisse. That Bouillabaisse will keep you fed for quite some time.

If you know a splatter of WAS – just to be able to integrade Domino with other Lotus IBM products – many of which are free entitlements to Domino licensees now – you have a whole larger pond you can swim in with more work to choose from with better rates and less competition.
I am a freelance IT consultant and started with Domino 18 years ago. I like it and do well and was lucky enough to have a nice year-long project I came off of in December and moved right into a new IBM Connections gig back-to-back.  But if you look out in the market and search for Notes/Domino projects they are getting fewer and fewer and pay less and less each year and the competition for those positions is quite fierce.

Yes, clients want oodles of experience and the knowledge you bring to the table but the price structure is not what it used to be. Look on LinkedIn and check how often you see somebody from India posting a question on how to “quickly learn Domino and maybe that thing called Notes” and you know where allot of the basic support jobs have gone to and what quality clients seem to be willing to live with nowadays. The only IT guys/girls working regularely now are either on the low end of the pay scale or the very top. If you are caught in the middle, the jobs you can find not as plentiful as they used to be and you are constantly searching, right?

Let me spell it out:

  • Change is good
  • Learning is a life-long necessity (damn – after all you did not learn Domino in elementary school, right?)
  • Expecting to do the same thing you are comfortable with for the next 20 years until you retire is not going to happen
  • WAS is not as hard as it looks – if you can take care of a Domino environment with all the moving parts and pieces WAS is not such a leap.

LEARN . IT . NOW . 

IBM Unknown errors running utilities – United States


Found this one looking through technotes today, really interesting. I often set up servers to run off-line maintenance on dB and often have servers running 32bit Domino on 64bit Windows. I have not yet run into a case where I noticed the additional errors that might pop up but is it good to now that I can ignore them.  I like my off-line maintenance routines and do not want to have to change them.

 

IBM Unknown errors running utilities – United States.

Background Agents not running or how shortcuts can cost you in Domino


I’ll keep it brief – short cuts will kill you.

 

I am on a Domino migration project where we are moving the client from 6.5.6 to 8.5.2. We are not upgrading servers but creating a whole new server environment on new virtual servers and will be moving applications over in phases. No mail, they moved to Exchange years ago.

We separated the development and sandbox environments out into new Domino domains (they were in production up until now) and we are in testing mode – each application individually.

That is where we ran into  … “issues” with simple background agents, specifically agents that send e-mail.

“Error connecting to server (servername): The remote server is not a known TCP/IP host,”

Agents fire, things happen and for the most part we are happy, but the above errors pop up again and again and mail is not being created. The mail never makes it into the mail.box, just errors in the logs and no mail at all.

This is where we came across this technote: and while reading it I am also glancing through the notes.ini on one of the servers that is having issues. I notice in there the “Mailserver=” parameter that has a different server name entered – that is where the above technote comes in and then a few Google searches on the [Mailserver] field and we knew where we had managed to trip ourselves in the process.

 

The [Mailserver] field

This is a little knows field since it has no UI equivalent and normally an admin would never have to fiddle with it – ever. However, when you take shortcuts during server setup and configuration though …. maybe you can guess? Yes, we set up one default server document, copied it 20 times, renamed the server name, updated all the server specific addresses and then copied the certificate into it. What that leaves you with is 20 server documents that all have the same one [Mailserver] field value – and the server that it pointed to was a temporary server that was turned off.

It took us a few hours of head scratching to figure this one out but by the end of the day we got it and fixed the field values on all servers. After that restarting the servers (not really necessary but I always feel better that way) took care of the rest and we were back in business.

Lesson learned: if you want to batch create and copy & paste things make sure you take care of ALL server specific information in a server document, not just the ones you can see in the document but the hidden ones as well.

Domino 8.5.2 HF1 – the fix for the unread synch server crash


I would like to bring your attention to the SPR# RMAA88UAGF – server crashes when clients synchronize unread marks on Domino 8.5.2 servers.

I ran into this last week when we had some unexplainable server crashes for apparently no good reason – one of them happened when I was showing a help desk tech how to synchronize unread marks between replicas from the client. I investigated and the crash report that Domino gave me pointed me right to this error – now fixed in FP1. It is a regression bug and is not fixed in either of the previous hot fixes for the Domino 8.5.2 code stream. I had servers with both the SMTP patch and the interim fix (IF) as well – they all crashed at one time or another. I installed HF 1 on all servers and now they are safe from this issue – I tested it on all of them just to be on the safe side.

If you don’t have HF 1 installed yet – do it soon, this one can happen at anytime during  the day and there is no warning whatsoever. only a big “boom” when the server disappears from the face of the (electronic) earth. Incidentally, there are allot of other problems that are fixed in that HF as well – I suggest you look into it right away and consider upgrading all your Domino 8.5.2 servers soon.

Blackberry Express for Domino – Finally here


I am not the first one to find this, I actually only noticed after going through my feeds and stumbling on it in Volker Weber’s blog . IT IS FINALLY HERE! We are now officially no longer the unwanted, redheaded stepchildren of RIM – we have our own BES Express server! Go here …

 

PS: with all this early stuff that VOWE knows, does he ever really work? The eternal questions never stop …. it’s all envy anyway! :)

Domino on Linux: Upgrading to Domino 8.5.2 trouble -> FP are the cluprits


I had been putzing around with my golf swing linux based Domino servers over the weekend. I did run into some issue with upgrading servers but because working my 3/4 pitch swing to the green looked so much more important to me (the weather was GORGEOUS!!) I put it off until later.

Fast forward to today and this is a new technote I just found in the IBM support stream:

IBM – Upgrading from a Notes 8.5.1 fixpack to Notes 8.5.2 for Linux rpm

To summarize quickly: If you have an existing 8.5.1 Domino server on Linux that has ANY FP installed – you will not be able to upgrade to 8.5.2 right away but will have to uninstall the FP to get back to a vintage 8.5.1 install. Once you are back to square eleven you will be able to run your upgrade just as you are used to it. Mind you, you DO NOT have to uninstall 8.5.1, you just have to get rid of your fixpack.

Once the weather goes bad and I don’t feel like working on that golf swing (or my scores on the course nosedive) I will go through the log files on my server I was working on and see if the error messages outlined in this technote match. I want to make sure it was not admin induced error or some other, unrelated issue.

Funny thing is: I have not heard from anybody in my network about this issue yet – has anybody run into it yet?Technorati Tags: , , ,

Domino 8.5.1 Technote – Fixup can crash your server


I came across this technote yesterday and investigated it right away …

- well, I’ll admit it – I asked somebody else in IBM to clarify some items for me and am now plagiarizing that good deed on my blog – THANKS CAROL!!

First of all – this only applies to Domino 8.5.1 on Windows, and it makes no difference which FP you are running since it was not fixed in FP4 nor will a fix be included in FP5 either, it is fixed in 8.5.2 though – you guys are safe.

 

The Issue Explained:

The issue CAN be cause by running FIXUP with a combination of either [fixup -F -J] or [fixup -F -J -O]. It will not automatically happen, it has to run into a document in a dB that has ‘invalid items” .. what exactly constitues such “invalid items” is not 100% clear but I am treating it like a 50-50 chance for failure until I have more evidence/experience or a better explanation of what exactly is meant with “invalid items”.

Exception:

Since the explanation implies that the behavior only happens if you also include the [-J] switch, servers that are not not transaction logged will not be affected, even if they are on Windows. Also, if you are running Domino on any other platform this will not affect you – so my dear Linux buddies are all safe, as are you AIX, iSeries and mainframers as well.

 

What does this mean in terms of daily admin work?

Well, the [-J] is needed anytime you want to run fixup against transaction-logged databases and [-F] is a very commonly used switch as  well. [-O] basically tells fixup to also run against open databases and is the default bahavior if you specify a database name with the fixup command.So the command [load fixup mail/xxx.nsf -J -F] implicitly includes the [-O] switch behavior whether you add it to the command or not.

That leaves you with the option to run Fixup without the [-F] switch to avoid a  *possible* kiss of death.

 

Advice:

if you are running the fixup command as part of some regular, automated script (I usually advise against it) you need to review the commands to make sure yo do not inadvertently crash your server (possibly, it is not a guaranteed outcome).

Also, when running Fixup against databases during the day to fix database corruption of any kind, I would run it without the [-F] switch during the day and see if your problem is fixed. If that does not fix your database problem, you can either roll the dice or wait until after hours – which is what I will do until I have tried it out a few times and have a better feel whether this actually ever materializes or not.